Child and Adult Thyroid Monitoring After Reactor Accident

Project overview and rationale

A nuclear power plant accident will cause uncontrolled release of a large amount and complex mixture of radionuclides; however 131I generally makes the largest dose contribution. After the Chernobyl accident, many citizens received thyroid doses exceeding 1 Gy due to radio-iodine intakes and more than 6 000 thyroid cancers (mostly in children) were attributed to radio-iodine intakes. After the Fukushima accident, about 98% of the effective dose received by emergency workers was attributable to radio-iodine intakes.
Following a large scale nuclear accident, or even a small accidental release, citizens will expect to be individually monitored rather than rely on calculated dose. This project focuses on post-accidental 131I measurement in the thyroid, particularly for children.
This project focuses on the monitoring strategies and assessment of thyroid doses resulting from intakes of radio-iodine. Monitoring strategies will address monitoring of children and adults, required capabilities and existing gaps. Strategies will also address harmonization of measurements and dose assessment to be done by national authorities, within the European Union and neighbouring countries.
This project relies on a review of existing European means, on two thyroid measurement inter-comparison circuits, focusing on children, on Monte-Carlo based device calibrations and on the development of emergency oriented dose assessment methods.
Identified gaps such as the children case will be solved and other potential gaps will be revealed.
The main outcome of the project will be guidelines based on practical experience and on the comparison of existing and required means. Guidelines will also benefit from the inputs of the civil society.

Work package organization

WP2: Review of existing plans and means

  • Survey on existing response capacities in Europe in case of emergency, focusing on internal exposure monitoring, thyroid monitoring and the children case
  • Review of international recommendations about internal exposure monitoring in case of emergency, focusing on thyroid monitoring and the case of children
  • Compare existing capacities and international recommendations
  • Review the Fukushima experience and the NTW survey on Emergency preparedness in Europe, focusing on internal exposure monitoring and the involvement of citizens
  • Study the advantages and drawbacks of citizenship measurements

WP3: Measurement inter-comparison for spectroscopic devices

  • Manufacture and distribute to volunteer teams thyroid sources corresponding to different ages (5 years-old, 10 years-old, adult) for measurement of the unknown thyroid activity
  • Evaluate the response and help teams to improve their measurement process

WP4: Measurement inter-comparison for non-spectroscopic devices

  • Same as WP3 but for devices such as dosimeters, count-rate meters, gamma-camera

WP5: Factors affecting measurements

  • Study the factors affecting thyroid measurements with spectroscopic devices such as thyroid volume, detector design, measurement distance, contribution of other radionuclides
  • Use Monte-Carlo calculations, realistic age-specific computational models, validated detector models

WP6: Thyroid dose assessment in case of emergency

  • Establish ready-to use tables to assess the thyroid dose or committed effective dose from measurement
  • Takes into account: the age of the measured subject, the short lived radio-iodine isotopes, the fetus case, the case of iodine prophylaxis

WP7: Guidelines

Based on the work of the other work packages, on literature review and on the experience of the participants the following guidelines will be made publically available:

  • Guidelines for development of monitoring strategies and derivation of reference levels
    These guidelines will focus on the purposes of monitoring; who should be monitored; the results needed; which measurements should be made; the radionuclides to be measured; at what locations, and over which time periods, should the measurements be performed. These guidelines are mostly intended for decision-makers and professional in charge of emergency preparedness.
  • Technical guidelines for radio-iodine in thyroid monitoring
    These guidelines will focus on equipment, measurements, calibrations and dose assessment. They are mostly intended for professionals performing measurements and dose assessment.


The guidelines and the report of work packages will be made publically available on June 2017.
Conclusions will be presented in conference and peer-reviewed articles


This work is funded by the European Commission for 18 months through the OPERRA (Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area, project #604984) project. OPERRA is part of the FP7-Fission-2013 program.


IRSN (France), CIEMAT (Spain), Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic), Gothenburg University (Sweden), IFIN-HH (Romania), IST-ID (Portugal), MTA- CER (Hungary) , Mutadis (France), NCBJ (Poland), Public Health England (UK), RPI (Ukraine), SCK-CEN (Belgium, SÚRO (Czech Republic)

If you need further information, please contact the project coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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